Month: June 2009

How Can 2 Months Feel Like 2 Years?

First, I apologize for neglecting to post any updates about the CNR 2030 project since mid-April.  But it’s hardly because our Creative Connectors team has been idle.

Since breaking huddle after a two-day Roanoke Creative Class Leadership Program workshop, our team has:

  • drafted a business plan that focuses on providing resources that will unite individuals and groups toward a goal of regional carbon neutrality by 2030;
  • set a first-year goal of establishing a website that will serve as an online hub for education, communication and collaboration;
  • gained several commitments to serve on our Advisory Board representing a diverse group of regional players—Virginia Tech, Cool Cities Coalition, and Roanoke Regional Partnership among them—to help guide our efforts; and
  • secured a commitment from Virginia Tech to bring its award-winning Solar House to Roanoke for an exhibit after its participation in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. in October.

Yet our six-person team still believes we should be further along. What we’ve discovered is that building a grassroots effort toward a goal as complex as ours will require a lot more time than we anticipated, mainly because there are already so many businesses and organizations pursuing green initiatives in a non-collaborative manner.

CNR 2030 is not about duplication of effort. We are not going to supplant the Cool Cities Coalition, or trample on the Roanoke Clean & Green project, or take over Bike Roanoke. That would be a silly strategy. What we do hope to do is open lines of communication among these myriad initiatives, provide resources that connect people and businesses to them, and foster a spirit of regionalism so that all who live, work or play in the Roanoke and New River valleys may benefit from the movement toward sustainable practices.

When we announce our Advisory Board later this month, it will be readily apparent that we have strong regional support for CNR 2030’s mission. We will be turning to our Board for guidance as we flesh out our business plan and develop a timeline for project development.

We’ll also be turning to them for advice on building CNR 2030’s “street cred.” Frankly, we’ve gotten a lot of puzzled looks from those we have approached about participating in our project. Some think all our ideas are already being done. (They’re not.) Others don’t believe we’re associated with Richard Florida. (We are.) Those encounters remind us of how challenging it will be for CNR 2030 to gain mindshare among the region’s leaders, businesses and residents.

That’s a big reason why I’m particularly looking forward to this Saturday when we have a marketing plan brainstorming, led by Katie Wallace. I love this kind of challenge. And so do the other members of the CNR 2030 project team.

With a goal as significant as ours, it’s not hard to find motivation.